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Truckee senior meals program looking for help

Sun News Service

Although the senior meals program has operated almost three weeks under the management of a part-time Truckee resident, the program is not yet out of crisis.

At a community meeting sponsored by local service clubs last Thursday, club representatives considered an updated financial plan and various approaches for making the lunch meals a certainty for another year.

Kitchen repair expenses were first on the list, including a dishwasher, oven parts, sink and wall repairs required by the health department, and a machine for sanitary packaging of meals for delivery to those who cannot come to the senior center on Highway 267 for lunch.

That list totaled almost $5,000, which the service clubs felt they could finance with club donations.

A computer and fax machine (for reporting program statistics to the Area 4 Council on Aging) were donated by local businesses at a previous meeting.

“The big need now,” said Nick Buick, the new program operator who stepped in on April 9, “is for $10,000 in working capital to pay for groceries and salaries until we can be reimbursed for the government’s share of costs.”

Beyond that, another $15,000 to $20,000 per year is needed to cover costs not paid by the government and not donated by those who receive the hot meals.

About 50 meals a day are served at the senior center and by home delivery.

“That doesn’t begin to reflect the need,” said Brenda LeBlanc, a member of Truckee Soroptimists.

“There are many seniors who do not know about the program, about transportation options or about their eligibility.”

“Every one of us knows someone who could benefit from this service.”

Participants decided to form a new not-for-profit organization with broad community representation to permanently take on fund-raising responsibilities and the task of coordinating services for seniors.

A not-for-profit has operated at the center for years but, according to research done by Dave Dunlap representing Truckee Rotary, it has a couple of tax returns outstanding and only $6 in the bank.

“We’re going to start fresh,” Dunlap said, “to be sure that all donations are tax-deductible and that they go directly to program expenses.”

“A board of service club representatives and community members will provide oversight as well as coordination for volunteers and fund-raising events,” said Dan O’Gorman, a member of the Truckee Optimist Club.

“And it will allow us to expand senior outreach to include other services beyond the meals program.”

Other organizations represented at the meeting included Truckee Lions and Lionesses, the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation and Tahoe Forest Hospital, as well as a number of senior center residents.

The service clubs are asking community members for individual donations to supplement what the clubs can donate to get the program onto its feet.

Donation checks can be made out to RACS – Truckee Sierra Senior Services, and dropped off or sent to Helen Solli-Nowlan at US Bank, 10995 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA 96161. A receipt and letter of acknowledgment will be sent to all donors.


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